“There are people out there who are still in trouble, but there are ways they can avoid a foreclosure, if they’re willing to do the work,” said Deborah McNaughton, author of “The Essential Credit Repair Handbook.”

Her alternatives include considering:

—a short sale: “That should be your first choice,” she said.

—a short refinance: “If your payments are not behind, contact a lender to see if you are eligible.”

—a lease purchase option.

—renting your house: “When things get better ... you can always move back into your home.” —Gazette staff

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